Birchbox June 2015 and EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database Scores

I’m a little behind on posting this – oops…


Marcelle Mini Waterproof Eyeliner – Ok I’m not believing the ingredient list on Birchbox. “C11-12 Isoparaffin. May contain: Ferric ferrocyanide, carmine” is not the full list of ingredients. The ingredients are printed on the side and it’s a much longer list. Tiny print but longer. I don’t see any cones, fragrance or parabens at a glance so I may try this but it also might be awhile before I type it all in to get a score.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 8TOCCA Eau de Parfum, Bianca – Fragrance, synthetic fragrance. Just a NO.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 2Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear™ Micro Water – I see nothing here that’s bad which is why this was my choice of product for this month’s box. That said, let’s see if EWG brings any other ingredients to my attention. “GALACTOMYCES FERMENT FILTRATE” is “natural yeast extract” but I still couldn’t get EWG to recognize that ingredient. It shows up as a healthy 2 however. I picked well. 🙂

ewg-skindeep-cosmetics-database-score-unknownKérastase Masque Chroma Captive – Treat – cones rule this one out for me. Lack of online ingredients for me to copy and paste rule out me bothering to look up what the EWG score is at the moment.

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 6COOLA® SPF 50 Sport – Mango –  Fragrance is the biggest downside to this. Coola is actually one of my preferred SPF options but I go for the unscented version. This ends up being a 6 with the fragrance. Without fragrance it would be a 4. Some of their other products rate a little bit better even then. This is still probably one of the healthier sunscreens out there. So much of it is super toxic.

Then add in the number that are now aerosol so you’re breathing it in as well (I know your kids are impatient and you feel the need to hose them down before they jump in the pool but please stop hosing down the rest of us.) Rant for another day…. 🙂

ewg skindeep cosmetics database score 0Pura Vida Lace Headband Set – My head is not the right shape for elastic headbands. Even one with a grippy backside won’t stay in place more than a few seconds on me. HOWEVER I think that I can cut this and turn it into some hair ties.

 Still not signed up for Birchbox? :D

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Birchbox February 2014 unboxing

Birchbox February 2014

First lets start with what you can see in these photos – this is the first time I’ve had something leak in one of my Birchboxes. When I posted this on instagram I was told to contact [email protected] which I did and since I told them I hadn’t wanted to try the hair oil and nothing else was ruined they gave me some birchbox points for the trouble.

I didn’t take any additional product photos after opening this month’s box and I threw out the hair oil bottle and the packaging so let’s move on to what was inside. 🙂

COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face – cones rule it out for me (allergy / breakouts.) I think I swatched this on my hand with a sample I received in the past though and wasn’t thrilled. I’m never thrilled with tinted moisturizers though. Love the Coola sunscreen though and I can highly recommend that!! This tinted matte moisturizing sunscreen rates a 3 with the cosmetic database. (reminder: lower is better with 0 being best and 10 being worst with regards to being healthy.)

Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish in Kitten Heels – is this 3 free? I need to do a bit more research (tiny print.) Love the brightness of the shade indoors. We’ll see how this wears.

Smashbox Cosmetics Full Exposure Mascara – have to call. Not waterproof so not worth it for me. Not going to do the cosmetics database report on this one either.

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil – cones rule it out for me.  Rates a 6 with the cosmetics database so even without the cones it’s a bit too high.

Smashbox Cosmetics Full Exposure Palette – Most of these don’t have cones but there are one or two shades that have cones in them. Also I’m half and half on this “card” style sample. There’s enough to try but not enough to play with. I can maybe do swatches on my arm ONCE and ONCE on my eyes and that’s it. Yes, retail it would be $49 for the full palette so I get why they couldn’t give us the full palette but this paper card seems a bit of a cop out – like something you might see for free in a magazine. Colors are good but I don’t think I’m impressed enough to buy the full set. The ingredients are long and listed out on the back of the card (and nowhere online) so I’ll have to come back to running a cosmetics database report on these.

 Still not signed up for Birchbox? :D

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July 2013 Birchbox vs Ipsy

Unboxing video for both the July Birchbox as well as the July Ipsy:

In my July 2013 Birchbox:

  • Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow – perfume free is a pro on this one … but there are two forms of dimethicone in this. Some good ingredients in this and some ingredients I recognize to not be so healthy. I can’t find the ingredient list online to copy and paste and it’s rather lengthy so I’m not going to run it through the cosmetic database for a score (it’s not in there without the custom report.)  staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty 0/5 stars
  • Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream – I don’t know how accurate or current this ingredient list is but it does say there is dimethicone which rules it out for me personally. There are too many ingredients here for me to type it all into the cosmetic database for you to check the score to see if it is otherwise healthy for you. Generally it doesn’t look too bad but for me this is a  staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty 0/5 stars  (Can more companies or Birchbox start posting full ingredient lists online in a way that’s more accessible? This gets frustrating even outside of Birchbox at times.)
  • Beauty Protector Protect & Shampoo – fragrance and two types of dimethicone. Custom cosmetics database report on the ingredients brings it up as a 6 which is not exactly healthy either. staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty 0/5 stars
  • Beauty Protector Protect & Condition –  fragrance and  dimethicone. Custom cosmetics database report on the ingredients brings it up as a 5 so again not exactly healthy either. staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty 0/5 stars
  • FRAIS™ Towelettes Individualsamazing ingredients but I think this has to be one of the most expensive per use products to date. Cosmetics database ranks it a 2 which is excellent and there are a lot of healthy oils and other ingredients in this AND it’s supposed to remove waterproof mascara. However most makeup remover, moisturizing facial towelettes come in packages of 30 for between $6-$10 (so at most about $0.33 each.) This is $8 for a package of 7 towelettes! ($1.42 per use!) Since it’s individual packets I do think this might be good for travel but … I just can’t see using this regularly. Then again Birchbox hooked me on the LA Fresh nail polish removers for $0.50 a pop when regular bottles of nailpolish removers are only a couple of dollars and last an untold number of uses. So we shall see. Since I haven’t docked any others for price I’m going to leave this at starstarstarstar 5/5 stars

In my July 2013 Ipsy:My July 2013 Ipsy bag - cute hot pink!

  • POP Beauty – Pouty Pop Crayon in Coral Crush – No dimeticone but it does use fragrance and petrolatum and mineral oil. A custom cosmetics database report brings it up as a 4. Between that and the fact it doesn’t have dimethicone I’m going to give it a try. It’s not super healthy but it’s … ok. If the manufacturer would skip the fragrance it would bring it’s score down quite a bit and be healthier even though it still would still not count as a natural product. I have tried this on and the shade is a little odd on me … I’m still undecided on it. starstarstarstaremptystarempty 3/5 stars
  • BH Cosmetics California Collection Eyeshadow Sample – mineral oil, talc, parabens. Meh moving on. I know I don’t want to use it. staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty 0/5 stars
  • COOLA Mineral Face SPF 20 Unscented Moisturizer –  I checked out this company’s full line back when I received the COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face back in the May Birchbox and pretty much everything looked awesome. So good in fact that I bought the unscented sport sunblock already but had been hoping to try the unscented face spf at some point. Scents right on your face can get a little old quickly if you aren’t in love with them and I wanted to see if this was something that worked better for say somewhere you might be out all day that isn’t the beach. starstarstarstarstar 5/5 stars
  • Sexy Hair – Weather Proof Humidity Resistant Spray – at first glance I thought “well it’s only the fragrance I’m annoyed about. Then I ran it through a custom report with EWG’s skin deep cosmetic database and ended up with a 10 … TEN out of ten for highly hazardous ingredients. Bah! Ten is the worst possible score! But no dimethicone in this one… ugh. staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty 0/5 stars
  • derma e – Microdermabrasion Scrub – 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, glycol-free, lanolin-free, gluten free, GMO-free. No dimethicone or synthetic fragrance either (it does have a natural scent to it that smells fairly lemony.) And it ranks a measly 2 with the cosmetic database so this is a winner for being a healthy product and I look forward to trying it. Fingers crossed! starstarstarstarstar 5/5 stars

Birchbox 05/25 stars = 0.2 stars total staremptystaremptystaremptystaremptystarempty
Ipsy 13/25 stars = 1.92 stars total starstarstaremptystaremptystarempty

If I had to choose between the two boxes, month after month Ipsy has been winning hands down for me personally. It’s just those occasional gems and finding out about new brands along with Birchbox’s points system…. and well basically all the things I wrote about in this post that’s keeping me with Birchbox. It is what it is. 🙂

Hilary's July Birchbox vs Ipsy review and video

PS – my fun and funky straw fedora came from Kohl’s. Since Birchbox mentioned Power Plays being “A move that puts an individual in a position of victory and strength and/or maximizes one’s happiness or confidence and allows for extreme freedom”… I would have to say this hat would be my current power play. I hate having to dry my hair in the summer and this hides the fact that I keep washing and running or going to the pool and then not having styling tools with me… or for today it was an instance of not washing so I could make it to an early morning meeting and then my hair looking a little frazzled by the end of the day but I still wanted to get this video done so I plopped on the hat. I also wore it to Forecastle Music Festival so my forehead and ears didn’t get burned (with or without sunscreen my forehead seems to burn if out way too long) but I do think I need to find a hat that has a bit better ventilation because this one has a tendency to heat up when it’s 85+ degrees outside! 🙂


Find a healthier natural spf sunscreen

Natural and organic spf sunscreens used to be harder to find but due to demand, more and more have become available in recent years.

Picking a Natural SPF Sunscreen for the sake of our HEALTH:

You should avoid the following ingredients:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Vitamin A (Retinyl palmitate)
  • Aerosol spray and powder sunscreen
  • Added insect repellant like deet
  • Parabens
  • Fragrance

On the “powdered sunscreen” I have to note that I think powdered mineral makeup that has natural mineral sunscreen for regular daily wear would be an exception.

If you haven’t noticed yet, one of my favorite resources is the Cosmetics Database from EWG. For a list of general ingredients to avoid by product category, check out their guides:

For a full listing of some of the best options, check out their listings here:

** UPDATE: Better link and iphone app here **

Picking a Natural SPF Sunscreen for the sake of our OCEANS:

Not only is it important to be concerned about what we put on our skin but since many people are wearing sunscreen on beaches and into the ocean, how it affects ocean wildlife is something to think about as well.

Be sure to avoid sunblocks with:

  • octylmethoxycinnamate
  • benzophenone-3
  • parabens
  • octocrylene

These cause complete coral reef bleaching at very low concentrations. If you want to read more about this bleaching phenomenon, check out this National Geographic Article.


What sunscreens are both healthy and won’t harm our ocean wildlife – BOTH?

Well the easiest to find would probably be Badger. They even have one of the easiest to follow explanations about the coral reefs. Most of their sunscreens are within the 1-2 range (lower is better) with the cosmetics database. They ARE mineral based sunscreens so they may leave some white residue and they are in the $15-$20 price range. I haven’t tried this one yet so I can’t tell you from personal experience the pros and cons.

Honestly the next sunscreen I’m probably going to buy will be from Coola. I was really impressed with the sample in my birchbox AND it does fit both health and ocean requirements. I’ll probably get the Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented for general use and Coola Classic Sport SPF 45 Sunscreen Unscented for longer outdoor / swimming use. These are again in the 1-2 range with the cosmetics database (the Coola brand has some older listings that are higher.)

Since there area lot of personal preferences, I’m probably not going to try and go through a whole lot of sunscreens simply to review them but I am going to go through a few for myself just to find what I personally like. What I had been using wasn’t very healthy.

For the most part, products 3 and under via the Cosmetics Database are going to also be safe for the oceans (but just quickly double check the ingredients to be sure!!)